OPTICAL Express Group has reported a £15.1 million pre-tax loss for its most recent financial year and says a plan to put a subsidiary into administration is the final piece in its restructuring jigsaw.

Founder David Moulsdale unveiled the intention to appoint an administrator for DCM Optical Clinic and then buy back 16 of the 19 stores in a move which is not expected to lead to any job losses.

That came as accounts filed at Companies House show DCM (Optical Holdings) recorded a pre-tax loss of £15.1m in the 12 months to December 29, 2012, wider than the £1.5m loss in the prior year.

The most recent financial year for the business, which has its headquarters in Cumbernauld and employs more than 800 people in Scotland, saw a £6.5m exceptional charge related to restructuring of the store portfolio which saw 40 units close.

Group turnover declined from £188.2m to £169.3m with UK revenue dropping from £169.4m to £153.9m. European turnover fell from £18.7m to £15.5m.

Net debt in the 12 months widened from £34.3m to £38.6m with around £29.7m of that as bank loans and overdrafts.

The accounts state Mr Moulsdale was owed £7.76m.

Average staff numbers fell from 1998 to 1794 with employee costs dropping from £55.2m to £50.1m.

Directors' remuneration was flat at £769,215 with the highest paid seeing their emoluments steady at £500,798.

Earlier this year Mr Moulsdale acquired the remaining bank debt of Optical Express from Royal Bank of Scotland.

Although no value has ever been revealed for the deal a spokesman for Mr Moulsdale indicated at the time it was a multi-million-pound investment which would protect jobs and position Optical Express for growth and without any significant debt.

Yesterday Mr Moulsdale said: "We initiated a strategic review of the business in the face of a tough economic landscape at the beginning of 2012 that worsened throughout the year.

"The landscape is now more stable and with diligence and some hard decisions taken, we see the Group positioned for growth.

"We've taken some further and final decisions on restructuring the Group, protected jobs and secured our supplier base.

"Aligned to our recent financial restructuring I believe Optical Express has never been in a stronger position to deliver for our patients, our staff and our supplier base."

An intention to appoint an administrator to English registered DCM Optical Clinic has been filed with Mr Moulsdale, who started the group in 1991 and remains its owner, intending to buy back 16 of the 19 outlets.

The closures are in Bristol, Manchester and Leeds where the business has other large stores.

Mr Moulsdale said: "There will be no job losses, no patient disruption and no supplier loss.

"My board and I have taken this decision to protect our patients, our employees and our suppliers.

"This is the final piece in our restructuring jigsaw and puts us in a position of strength to deliver growth, stability and profitability."

Optical Express, which has more than 50 stores in Scotland, has faced growing competition from online retailers and supermarkets in recent years while also battling with the tough trading conditions affecting the rest of the high street.

The decline in consumer confidence has also meant less demand for expensive treatments such as laser eye surgery.

The board of DCM (Optical Holdings) includes former PwC accountant Frank Blin who was recently linked to a possible boardroom position at Rangers before removing himself from consideration.

Former Scottish First Minister Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale is also on the DCM board.